Prof. Nasir Sambo, Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), says he has achieved six out of 10 Presidential Action Points given to him in August 2019, when he assumed duty.
Speaking at the Informal Engagement with Health Correspondents in Kaduna, on Saturday, said he was able to stabilise the NHIS, and implement the presidential mandate given to him, with the support of the management and staff.
The executive secretary told the Correspondents that before his assumption of office, the NHIS faced a lot of challenges that affected its progress.
He cited a lot of crises in the scheme, ranging from internal disharmony, weak programmatic foundation, poor regulatory/ lack of cohesion between stakeholders low level of coverage by NHIS, among others., as some of the challenges.
According to him, the challenges made President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute an Independent Fact-Finding Panel (IFFP) to unravel root causes of the problems in the NHIS before appointing him.
“I have been able to develop a 10-year Strategic Plan, drawn up a proper Job Description for the executive secretary NHIS; and cleared backlog of all NHIS unaudited accounts from 2010 to date.
“I have established a Financial Management System to bring NHIS in line with the new policy on Government owned enterprises and other applicable extant financial management policies.
“I have de-seconded all staff ab initio seconded to NHIS; these staff were at the centre of the crises then and I was able to resolve them, placed them correctly, as well as investigated the role played by Labour unions in the crises,’’ he said.
Sambo said the review of the enabling Act and statutes of the NHIS was ongoing and that the Senate had passed it, noting that the review would help the scheme to expand its coverage to more Nigerians.
“Except that Act is amended, we will not be able to cover more Nigerians, because the provision in the Act did not make health insurance mandatory and it also gave room to cover only the formal sector,’’ he said.
In addition, to the review of the Act, the executive secretary said he was carrying out a detailed Human Resource (HR) Audit and addressing all outstanding Human Resources issues.
“ I am also revising the current structure and operational procedures of the NHIS, and working on building institutional and human capacity of the NHIS on procurement processes,’’ he also said.
Sambo attributed the successes recorded so far to the rebranding agenda of value reorientation; transparency and accountability, and accelerating the drive of Universal Health Coverage (UCH).
“The scheme has provided logistics support to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and setting up of NHIS COVID-19 committee.
“It sent notifications to health care facilities and Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) to continue operations, while complying with necessary precautions; timely advance payments to health care facilities, to ensure uninterrupted access to health care services by enrollees.
“It also facilitated the seamless redistribution of enrollees from health care facilities designated as COVID-19 treatment centres to alternative facilities.
“The scheme also distributed Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to NHIS staff, selected organisations and health care facilities,’’ Sambo said. (NAN)